Anthropologie accused of cultural appropriation

Consumers are accusing Anthropologie of cultural appropriation with respect to a $150 tote bag that uses the same imagery and patterns seen on a keffiyeh scarf, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.


En Shalla bag - Anthropologie

The movement began on Twitter when a user called out the company saying, "'Did @Anthropologie really put handles on a keffiyeh?" The same user also tweeted that the product name was En Shalla, which sounded similar to Inshallah, or "God Willing" in Arabic.

The tote bag was described by Anthropologie as having a "tapestry-inspired print" that blended "traditional Moroccan techniques with a[...] contemporary aesthetic."

The initial consumer tweet was met with additional outrage from other users. Followers responded online with comments such as "This is cultural appropriation and entirely insensitive," and "My culture is not your tote bag!"

The keffiyeh was originally popularized in the 1930s and is worn as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

The accusations of cultural appropriation come at a particularly violent time in the country as dozens were killed in protests surrounding the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding in 1948. The date also marks when Palestinians fled their homes during the Arab-Israeli War.

In response to the social media firestorm, Anthropologie pulled the bag. The brand did, however, claim that the product name came from the company that manufactured it, called En Shalla.

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